Kalpathy agraharams, a traditional settlement of Tamil Brahmins in and around the banks of river Kalpathy, Palaghat, and Kerala houses a settlement pattern much duplicated by Kerala Brahmins. The profound character of row housing with high emphasis to traditional rituals and the presence of Kundambalam as the epicenter of their cultural lives enlines the character of settlement. The crisis of Kalpathy started with the aging population of residents finding it difficult to enliven the traditions living deep with in the society and home away younger generation finding it unable to sustain the cultural fabric. The future generation may drift away from those values kept alive through generations unless and until there is a move to educate them those virtues and prepare them to acknowledge the legendary icons lived and died fortifying Kalpathy’s heritage.
The intervention in to such a sensitive environment would have proved risky if not dealt carefully. The uplifting and maintenance of the cultural fabric, provision of certain basic amenities, taking care of prevailing ecological disturbances were all been envisaged with a scent of educative process all over. There wont be a culture with out a community and nor a community without a background. The empowerment of local self government and the co-education of residents were the first steps. The whole re development was planned and executed keeping the residents as stake holders.
Heritage re development plan was envisaged in different steps such as-Keeping the river banks of Kalpathy free from night soil pollution and other illegal activities by construction of bathing ghats and lighting the river banks with Kalpathy heritage walk getting active simultaneously through those banks once neglected and left for vandalism, keeping alive the memories of Mridangam maestro Palakkad Mani Iyer by constructing an auditorium under his name and conducting regular concerts under his memory, invigorating the premises of Kundambalam to acknowledge the religious beliefs of the local populace and keeping the place ready to accommodate those thousands gathering for the yearly chariot festival, branding indigenous Kalpathy products and finding a wide market for them where the whole community participation will be ensured, promoting home stay and conducting various programme like a day with the master musical treat meant for popularizing tourism, very subtle architectural treatment on those age old housing pattern like maintenance of Kolathara, individual facelift etc.
The project attracted wide appreciation and awakening amongst residents. A heritage committee was formulated with District collector as head which saw Kalpathy being accredited with the status of one of the World Heritage destinations by WTTC (World travel and tourism Council)